New iPad Pro: Power and Productivity, at a Price

(Julio Ojeda-Zapata) #1

Originally published at:

Apple has released a third generation of its iPad Pro line with a top-to-bottom redesign and high ambitions to set the tablet in competition with notebooks. Unfortunately, although a revised Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio provide added flexibility, the iPad Pro remains hobbled at times by software limitations.

(Alan Forkosh) #2

Two notes on connectivity via the USB-C port on the iPad Pro (I have an 11-inch cellular model).

  1. Apple sells a short USB-C to headphone adapter similar to the Lightning to headphone adapter for the same $9 price. I find this useful for my Bose noise-canceling earbuds.
  1. I’ve been able to use USB-C hub adapter that I bought for my MacBook Pro to attach an HDMI cable for using my TV as a secondary display. I’ve also been able to use the SD-card slot on the hub and import photos from a card to the iPad.

(Tommy Weir) #3

I have found Goodreader the only app which handles ZIP files reliably on iOS. Might be something to try.

People have said good things about LumaFusion for video editing on the iPad and it looks like a step up from iMovie but my tired iPad would not be up to handling it (or video…).

(Enrico Franconi) #4

I have found Goodreader the only app which handles ZIP files reliably on iOS. Might be something to try.

I warmly suggest Readdle’s Documents, which is a general document manager (“A mobile hub for all your files”) similar to Goodreader, but maintained up-to-date - Goodreader is not updated since ages, and they promise the new version 5 since years! Readdle’s Documents is the most used app on my iPad.



(Tommy Weir) #5

Documents is great, I had no idea it handled ZIPs. Good to know.

(Simon) #6

I find it interesting how many iPad reviews lately have basically pointed out that the iPad’s great, but it’s hobbled (to use @julio’s word) by iOS’ limitations. On the other hand, there is no lack of criticism of the MBP nowadays pointing out that the hardware is great and macOS too, but that you can’t touch the screen or use macOS more like iOS is a limitation.

Is this valid criticism? Or is it an age-old human conundrum that we chose one over the other for specific reasons and then later regret we didn’t get the other, or better yet, we just want it all? I wonder if Apple made macOS touchable, or added Finder and full access to APFS to iPad, would we really be happier?

Apple has basically said they won’t merge the two and has indicated this is dogma. Of course it wouldn’t be the first time they reversed course. But would that really make a better iPad or Mac? I do think Apple makes a valid point that specialized devices achieve levels of perfection that the one-device-to-rule-them-all cannot. Just look at the Surface! :smiley:

I’m sure somebody here with an iPad must have tried using something like VNC to their Mac in full screen mode over a fast network to mimic macOS running on iPad hardware. Was that really that good? On the other hand, would making macOS more touchable really be great? Sure, scrolling right on the screen with my finger would probably be nice, but moving around the cursor in my code on a hi-res display with tiny text? I doubt it. And that’s just boring me writing code and papers. I imagine the image/video/audio folks have an entirely different view.

(Julio Ojeda-Zapata) #7

Have you checked out my article on the Luna Display? This covers some of topics you raise here.

(Simon) #8

Absolutely! :slight_smile: I was actually thinking about exactly that kind of setup.

I don’t hear or read many discussions about using macOS that way. I suppose it could be due to the poor implementation or to connection bandwidth/latency (snappiness), but my guess would be it doesn’t catch on a great deal simply because macOS wasn’t designed to be used that way and, again I’m just speculating, doesn’t really lend itself to finger input. If that were correct, I guess my question would be if it actually would make any sense to try to modify it to improve that. I’d imagine any such modification could not necessarily be realized without compromising the traditional high-density display and efficient mouse/KB input.

OTOH I’m not so sure adding what macOS offers to iOS is that straightforward either. The more I think about these things, the more I get the impression that Apple might really be right on this one. Surface be damned. :wink:

(douglerner) #9

I have an iPad 5th generation. Except for the Apple pencil, is there anything the iPad Pro can actually do that my iPad 5th generation cannot? By that I mean a far as using the system and running apps, and getting things done. I can’t see anything that I can do on the iPad Pro that I can’t do on my regular iPad. Is there anything?

(Greg Scarich) #10

I took a previous edition iPad Pro on a five-week vacation. Was downloading photos everyday. Photos can’t annotate photos—captions or keywords. Photos image editing is too limited compared to the macOS version which even the most sophisticated editor; but the macOS capability would have been enough for me—others might want more.

If I remember correctly after uploading the photos to SmugMug I logged on to SmugMug to try and annotate there, but iOS insisted on using the SmugMug app instead, it wouldn’t allow using Safari. Same problem with iCloud. I wanted to do something that I could have done in macOS, but wasn’t possible via Safari on iOS. Other issues that I can’t now remember, but too many frustrations with iOS. The 10.5" size was adequate. And the Apple keyboard is OK for light typing, but I miss the function keys. Also miss multiple item clipboards (many applications provide this, I’m using Keyboard Maestro).

All of this is a long way of agreeing that iOS apps aren’t good enough and lack of apps like Keyboard Maestro makes it hard to believe iPads will replace Macs anytime soon. Before my next trip where I need to travel light I’ll sell the iPad and get a 13" MacBook(Pro?).

(Tommy Weir) #11

My reliance on DEVONThink Pro / Automator / Hazel / Keyboard Maestro / assorted scripts for managing files and research means I will likely never move my main operation over to any iPad, pro or not.

It’s conceivable that a set of tools and calibration devices and software updates might make it a convincing platform for photography and even video at some point but that’s a long long way off as I see it.

It’s a superb secondary device. I love using them for enjoyment and I value the productive work I can do on them but they are no match for the functionality I need.

(Tommy Weir) #12

Don’t think so Doug. Deeper pixels though… :slight_smile:

(douglerner) #13

Speaking of things we can’t do on an iPad - does anybody know any way, using a keyboard, to have shortcuts for filing mails in mailboxes in any app?

Gmail allows shortcuts in their iPad app, but for some reason left out the “V” shortcut for choosing a mailbox for filing.And the shortcuts don’t seem to work at all via mobile Safari.

Are there any iPad mail apps with shortcuts for mail filing?

(DeeAnne Lau) #14

Maybe someone else besides me can try AltaMail and Preside. I have found that they both allow very feature-rich filing of emails. I just found AltaMail overwhelming for my needs.

Btw. I have been forced to use my 2nd generation iPad as my sole computer for about a year now since my 2010 iMac’s hard drive died, and the resurrection of my back-up disk had parts of my user folder spread around outside of its path. Due to family illness and deaths, I haven’t been home enough to get it straightened out. Don’t have the funds to get a new one. I am currently retired. It has worked out fine for reading books, e-education, video communication, emails, short reports, social media, internet surfing, casual photo editing, casual gaming, and casual arty stuff. It’s awkward without a wifi printer in the house. Really messed up handling transfer of finances and tax prep, but some things were on encrypted disk.

I use Logitech Slim Combo case, Zagg Glass and PadKeys. Dropped my iPad and the case and Glass saved it–-broke a corner of the case and shattered a small section of the Glass.

(douglerner) #15

I never heard of AltaMail but I’m trying it now. It has a great, and obvious, way of filing in mail folders - a search filter for the mail folders! Works great!

Maybe it’s worth the $9.99 a year … Seems quite cool. Thanks!

(I’ll check out Preside too.)


(Richard Rettke) #16

I switched to Preside and am quite happy, especially on the iPhone. It works fine on the iPad(s) also but I’m not thrilled with the screen layout options, but it’s free. I never heard of AltaMail either but I guess I’lll have to give it a shot.

Switching to Preside allowed me to remove the Gmail App and Apple Mail from my devices, I am much happier now.

(douglerner) #17

I’m testing AltaMail right now. It’s actually quite nice.

The appearance is beautiful, and the filing is very quick. Attachments and threads appear very naturally. I’m quite impressed. Of course there is that $10 a year subscription fee to consider.

I also tried Preside for a few minutes, and it also seems OK, though the filing in Alta mail seems nicer. Also, image attachments in Alta appear naturally, but you have to do extra steps to see the images in Preside. At least in sent mail.

The subscription cost of Preside is also $25 a year, which is 2 1/2 times that of Alta mail. So I have to wonder if it’s worth that. What do you think? On the other hand I believe Preside has a non-expiring free version while Alta mail will completely expire after 30 days if you don’t subscribe.

There is a lot more information about Alta available it seems. Preside seems to be a very small operation. That’s not bad by itself, but I believe they have relatively few users from what I can.

(Richard Rettke) #18

I downloaded AltaMail but probably won’t actually have time to get it setup till next weekend. The paid version of Preside did not seem to offer me anything I would need nor pay for. The free version works just fine. One thing I like about Preside is it easily let me setup a receive only account and also setting up an SMTP account was a piece of cake.

It does take an extra step to view the attachments, but it’s not big deal.

I’ll definitely be interested to see how the AltaMail setup compares and the functionality. Also interested in how it looks on the iPad.

After being in the email App desert for so long all of a sudden in a matter of weeks two good alternatives pop up.

I don’t know about the size of the Preside operation but I really don’t care. I find small operations with talented people are far more responsive to change requests and bug fixes. I much prefer the one man operation to the larger ones.

I also found Presides documentation to be thorough and well done. Whoever designed and wrote it is very talented (speaking from 50 years of software experience).

(DeeAnne Lau) #19

I have to admit that I was using what they call “AltaMail Classic” which is no longer supported. I tried out the new AltaMail and was completely blown out of the water! I find that the new version is miles and miles away easier to use! It automates things so naturally. I am thinking that the subscription cost is well-worth it, and may have found myself a little gem of an app from suggesting it here. I had been using Preside, but would do it in spurts. It always seemed to use up too much of my energy, so then I would just archive everything—not what I prefer.

(douglerner) #20

It’s Preside for me for now.

Nice things

  • It’s quite a rich and well though out email app, with a huge depth and breadth of features. It might take some getting used to, but it’s worth the small effort involved if you like playing with apps and getting the most out of them.

  • The developer is responsive and thorough in his responses.

  • You not only can easily file emails in folders (the first thing I was looking for), you can also easily go to a folder using the folder search feature. That is super convenient.

  • It has a proper “Send Again” like standard Apple Mail. You would be surprised at the number of iOS mail clients which don’t have this important feature, including Outlook, Gmail, and Spark.

  • The ability to customize the top bar and pop up in different contexts (reading Mail, composing) is great. You can add the tools you use and remove ones of less interest. I added the Thread feature to the top bar, which makes reading threads easier. And you can touch each item in a thread to see the full email in formatted detail.

  • You can also customize the tab bar, which appears the same in different contexts. For example you can add inboxes there as an easy way to get back to inboxes from anywhere.

  • Notifications allow you to set different actions when you long touch them. Clever.

There are a few issues I’m going over with but as I said the developer is very responsive.